Fasting for Three Full Days (72 Hours)
Almost 1 week removed from my successful 72 hour fast, I thought I’d reflect on the reasons for doing so, results, and thoughts throughout. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on out-of-the-box ways to improve health and fitness. Other than fasting, I’ve been doing research on and experimenting with extremely high fat diets (ketogenenic diets), extremely high carbohydrate diets, breathing techniques, heat exposure, and cold exposure (more on heat/cold exposure later, as this will be my next experiment).
So here’s why I decided to fast in the first place –
Cancerous and precancerous cells feed off of glucose (sugar) as fuel – 3-5 day “purge” fasts kill off precancerous cells in the body by starving them of their food.
Reset my insulin sensitivity point – better handling of carbs / sugars
Rehydrate – water consumption was off the charts (2+ gallons per day)
An act of solidarity with the thousands of kids in Richmond and billions of people around the world that don’t know where their next meal is coming from – hunger is real.
Humility – see above
To see if I can do it – GREAT SUCCEESS, VERY NICE
The more voluntary suffering you introduce to your life the less involuntary suffering affects your life – “well this isn’t as bad as that time where I didn’t eat for three whole days”. I’ve already applied this to bullshit I didn’t want to do at work – “making these calls isn’t so bad”.
The rules were simple –
No food from Thursday at 6:30 pm to Sunday at 6:30 pm.
Drink as much water as possible.
Friday and Saturday I included a brisk walk for 3 hours and did 7.5 miles each day.
I consumed about 8 grams of BCAAs (Amino Acids) each morning to help stave of catabolism (muscle wasting, 0 calories).
I stirred 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into my Four Stigmatic Mushroom Coffee mix Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (130 calories).
On Saturday after my hike, I had about 16 ounces of bone broth from grass fed cows (50 calories).
No food. No gum. No solids. Nothing that tasted particularly good…
We live in an extremely over-lit, over-stimulated, over-indulgent, over-comfortable society… we are rarely ever thrown into extraordinary or unusual circumstances that take us out of our comfort zone. Fasting did that for me, 100%. I think the longest I’d EVER gone without eating in my entire life was MAYBE 24 hours when I was ill. Not eating for 72 hours was definitely a shock to the system and something that my body wasn’t expecting, but I learned a lot from the experience.
I’m continuing to grow my willpower muscle – I thought about quitting / eating numerous times… but I didn’t. The more things you RESOLVE to COMMIT to and actually FOLLOW THROUGH, the greater your ability to do so moving forward on other things that matter. Day #346 – keep your streak alive. If I can do that, I can do this. If I can do this, I can do that. If I can do it, you can do it. And so on. (Update on 7/26/18 - Day #891)
I think about food a lot in my daily life. It was liberating not to have to do so, at least for the first 48 hours.. the last 24 hours I couldn’t stop thinking about it haha. I had SO MUCH MORE FREE TIME!! However, not enough energy to actually take advantage of it.
Mental clarity was off the charts on Friday and Saturday. Digestion is extremely hard on the body, especially the digestion of protein (which I try to eat a lot of). Because my body wasn’t using much of its resources for digestion, more blood and nutrients are made available for the brain to utilize. I felt extremely clear-headed, even keeled, and focused. No ADD/ADHD symptoms.
To expand on the above – I think this is one of the reasons intermittent fasting works so well for some individuals and this is something I’ll experiment with as well. The idea behind IMF is you have a 12-20 hour fast and then a “window” of time that you eat. Eat your last meal at 8 pm, wake up, skip breakfast (bulletproof coffee is acceptable and encouraged here), skip lunch, workout, eat all your meals from 2-8 pm, repeat. The fat in the coffee gives you the energy to take on the morning and helps stave off catabolism (along with some BCAAs), and because your body isn’t digesting much, the mental clarity is still there throughout the day.
A Chipotle burrito bowl at EXACTLY 6:30 pm on Sunday was literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten… it was extremely emotional, and I almost cried. I was so thankful and happy. It was a moment I won’t forget for a long time.
To sum – I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I was able to do it. And I’ll do it again, 2-3 times per year moving forward. Next time, I’ll add bone broth on Friday and Sunday as well. I’ll also plan some creative / academic activities for Friday and Saturday when I feel great and clear minded. I also would like to try some heat / cold exposure in conjunction with the fasting, maybe some meditation as well. Either way, I found myself moving deliberately and with purpose through this process. To borrow from the Navy Seals, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”.
How else can we apply this to our lives? In what areas could you change something or challenge yourself? I think life is about continuous learning and improvement, proving to no one other than yourself that you are capable of some crazy, impressive shit. If I am, you definitely are. We all are.